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Leo Woodall Needed Some Time to Digest that White Lotus Reveal

Leo Woodall Photo: Karwai Tang/WireImage

Spoilers for the fifth episode of The White Lotus season two, “That’s Amore.”

Midway through the second season of The White Lotus, a new bombshell enters the villa — or, rather, the former nunnery converted into a luxury hotel. He’s a strapping chap from Essex named Jack, and he’s supposedly Tom Hollander’s character, Quentin’s, nephew. He comes in hard for Haley Lu Richardson’s Portia, breaking up her fledgling dynamic with Adam DiMarco’s Albie and convincing her to cavort through Sicily with him. Things are looking up for Portia’s love life until the end of episode five, when he leaves her for a moment to “do something for his uncle.” That’s when Tanya (Jennifer Coolidge) finds him fucking Quentin — so, probably not actually his nephew! The revelation even caught Woodall himself off guard. “I’d been told I might have a rumble and tumble with a couple of characters, but I didn’t know who.”

So when you signed up for the role of Tom Hollander’s “nephew,” did you know you’d also be having sex with him?
Well, not right when I signed on, but it wasn’t too long after that. I’d been told I might have a rumble and tumble with a couple of characters, but I didn’t know who. When I was told that Tom Hollander was playing my uncle, I was already elated. Then the news dropped about that moment and I just had about ten seconds of silence, digesting it.

Can you share any hints about what’s actually going on there?
Not really. [Laughs.] None at all!

What was it like to film that scene?
Tom and I were both a bit nervous, but Mike White was very light about everything, especially on the day. We were filming other things before, and he was like, “… Are you ready?” We had a really good intimacy coordinator, took it seriously, but also had fun with it. Definitely a bonding moment.

How do you mentally prepare for scenes like that?
The whole job was about mentally preparing to go into the best show in the world, so everything that came with it took some mental preparation. My first day of filming was actually that sexy scene with Haley. That was the introduction to this job. Quite rock and roll!

Did you feel pressure going into the second season of a show that had been such a hit in season one?
It was a combination of “Pinch me” and “How am I going to do this?” I watched the first season not knowing there was an audition in my inbox for season two. I fell in love with the show, and only a couple weeks later did I clock that I had an audition for the next season. Going into it, I thought some stars had aligned and I had to, regardless of the pressure, have as much fun as I can.

Outside of the sex scene, what was it like to work with Tom Hollander?He’s a gentleman and a true professional. There was a moment where he gave me a real boost because I was feeling very overwhelmed early on. On our second shoot day, he just sort of figuratively put an arm around me and was supportive. I’ve got a lot of respect for that.

Coming into the show mid-season, did you also start filming later on?
I arrived maybe a week or two after a few of the others. But I did have to go back and forth from London for the first month or so. We were all becoming friends and I started to get FOMO so I decided not to leave. They did the karaoke when I was in London, so that was a deciding factor in having to stay.

What was it like to stay in that hotel while filming there?
I fell in love with that place. It’s incredible watching the show, looking down those hallways, and having so many memories of those rooms, the dining area, that bar. I arrived at midnight and was already like Oh, this is cool, and when I woke up to the view I just thought, What has happened to me? Then, in the last week we were there, it was operational again, and it was suddenly a different hotel. But some of the real employees at the hotel are in the show, which is cool. They really looked after us.

Do you have a favorite thing you did while not filming?
There was a really nice day where me, Meghann, Adam, Beatrice, Simona, Haley, and Aubrey went to a beach and swam out to this big rock. There were a lot of nights out. There was a fun day where Meghann and I went to the beach and came back and Murray Abraham was sat down having a drink and we joined him for a couple hours and hung out. Do you know what the Grand National is? It’s this annual horse race in the U.K. In the morning I got Meghann to bet on a horse and I bet on one, and as we were with Murray I realized it was happening. I got out my phone and mine and Meghann’s horse were at the front. My horse won and I went crazy. Murray was so happy for me until he realized I hadn’t bet proper money on it. He was like, “I thought you’d won 100 grand?” And I was like, “No, I’ve just won glory.”

It’s key that Jack and Portia have more chemistry than Albie and Portia. How did you work on that?
We went for coffee the day before we filmed that scene. We talked rubbish for a couple hours and she quizzed me on my star signs, which I didn’t know much about. I knew a lot once she educated me.

So what are your star signs?
I can’t remember honestly. I know I’m a Virgo, but she told me my moon landing, or rising, or whatever it is. I have to text to get the whole thing.

Are you from Essex yourself?
I’m from West London. But there’s definitely a lot of people I know from Essex. My stepsister’s from Essex, so it was fun to lean into that. I didn’t want to do a straight, stereotypical Essex person you may see on The Only Way Is Essex. Mike allowed me, as with Tom, to make the Englishness come out more, if that makes sense.

How so?
Bits of language, and the tiny tweaks an American person might not say. Like, in England, we use “fit.”

The other actors told me they feel like Mike brought elements of their own personality to the characters. Did you feel that happening?
One hundred percent. There’s something crazy about how incredible his script is but how casual and easy he is. He encouraged us to muck around. In episode four when we’re at the bar, I made up a line where I say, “Dos Jägermeister, dos Red Bull,” because I thought it would be funny for him to speak Spanish to an Italian bartender. I thought Mike would cut it, but I think he put it in!

Maybe it’s the way he says “villa,” but Jack feels a bit like a Love Island contestant.
Oh, I definitely thought Jack could slip into Love Island. He could go from one villa to the next.

What was it like to film in that villa that Quentin supposedly owns?
It was massive. Some of the interior was very weird. There’s all these crazy paintings and ancient antiques everywhere. The bedrooms were really dark.

An unnerving place to film a sex scene!
There was a picture of a dog on the wall, and Tom was like, “Maybe put the dog up there, while we’re in doggy style.”

Leo Woodall Needed Some Time to Digest That Lotus Reveal